By Joe Pietaro, MuscleSport Mag
Heading into the 2009 Mr. Olympia contest, the two names being thrown around were Jay Cutler, the two-time defending champion, and an up and coming Dennis Wolf. Three other names heard often were of the men who were to miss the show due to injury: Victor Martinez (the 2007 runner-up), Branch Warren and Kai Green.
Dexter Jackson kind of stayed under the radar, which was quite all right by him. While Cutler and Wolf trained all year for the show, Jackson was piling up first place trophies at the Arnold Classic, Australian Pro and New Zealand Grand Prix. When asked two days prior to the Olympia if dieting down and all of that preparation and travel would be a detriment to him, Jackson replied, â€œYou just have to know how to pace yourself. Itâ€™s not going to affect me in any way. Iâ€™ll still be 110 percent on that stage.â€
And he certainly was. The rumors were flying on the Internet message boards and in the Orleans Hotel (the Las Vegas venue where the Mr. O show was held) that Jackson was ahead of Cutler in points following the pre-judging. The next 24 hours was one theory after the next.
The finals began with the immortal Weider brothers, Joe and Ben, taking the stage and receiving a much-deserved ovation. The sport of bodybuilding would not be what it is without these two men.
The individual routines were only a warm-up for the pose down, which was a microcosm of the pre-contest banter. Cutler, Wolf and rookie Phil Heath â€“ the eventual third place winner â€“ stole the show as Jackson made himself conspicuous in his own way. As the top six were called out, the names started to fall. A chorus of boos followed Wolfâ€™s name in the fourth slot and when it was just two standing side by side, it was all Jackson.
The critics that have been knocking the blocky look of the last few Mr. Olympia winners have been silenced. Jackson, 38, is a well-proportioned bodybuilder with an aesthetic look, as opposed to the thick-waisted Cutler and eight-time champion Ronnie Coleman before him.
Some blame the judges, others the industry itself. Regardless of how the huge and freaky look became championship qualities, Jackson has seemed to turn back the clock to at least the Lee Haney era. Also winner of eight Sandow trophies, Haney ruled the stage from 1984 until he retired as champion in 1991, weighing 244 pounds at a height of 5â€™11â€. Jackson stands at 5â€™6â€ with a contest weight of 233 pounds. In comparison, the 5â€™9â€ Cutler weighs in at 265 pounds for a competition.
Jackson has not made his plans public and if he does walk away on top, the man known as â€˜the Bladeâ€™ has accomplished more than just becoming the twelfth Mr. Olympia in history. His legacy may be that he brought back symmetry to a sport that has strayed from its origination.